Thursday, August 9, 2012

Glioblastoma & Genetic Mutations

As I talk to brain tumor victims, a common question/lament that inevitably pops out in the conversation is “Why did I get this tumor?”

According to an article by Ron Winslow in the Wall Street Journal, a recent piece of research reported on in the journal,Science, may start to shed a bit of light on Glioblastoma.
Winslow writes that “A genetic mutation appears to be behind some cases of a common and aggressive brain cancer, researchers at Columbia University said, and targeting the abnormality with a drug prolonged the lives of mice with the condition.

The findings, published online Thursday (7/26/2012)by the journal Science, are the latest in a string of discoveries that illustrate the potential of genomic research to lead to new approaches to attacking cancer. Still, the researchers cautioned that only a fraction of the type of brain tumor studied, called a glioblastoma, was due to the genetic aberration.”

What’s interesting about this finding is that "...fused genes are a particularly compelling target. Because they are the product of two different genes, "they result in the production of proteins that don't exist in normal cells," said Antonio Iavarone, professor of pathology and neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and the study's senior author. "A drug that targets the fusion protein has the chance of being incredibly selective," he said.”

Here’s a link to the Wall Street Journal article

And here’s a link to the Science Magazine abstract: 

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